From an ink pen to a digital signature

Published Date: 8 July 2019

For centuries a signature could reveal a great deal about a person. Who as a child hasn’t spent hours on practicing the italic style signature? Writing the perfect curve that would define adulthood and class or drawing something unreadable close to being a symbol or a stamp. The classic ink pen signature has historically been the means of doing business and binding ourselves to something. For a long time, it was the only method considered globally valid, being probably one of the very few aspects shared by countries with different cultures and jurisdictions. While this long-lasting attachment was then gradually abandoned, it only took a few very intense years to consolidate new habits that no one can do without.

 

Once digital, always digital

The world has evolved, and with it the demands and expectations of people. Digitization has made everyone’s life easier, and when you get used to doing daily activities faster and with less effort it’s hard to go back. Could you imagine to waiving your digital devices even just for a day? In today’s internet-based economy every minute counts. We value safe, smart and fast solutions, whether it is for purchasing clothes, signing tax declarations or buying a new home. Our personal and professional life is now marked by the use of smartphones and laptops; pen and paper are no longer part of the work set-up. The most obvious path ahead is digitizing what’s left of the old-fashioned world. And signing methods have a key role in the overall innovation roadmap for every business.

 

Different generations, different values

For ages the validity of the traditional handwritten signature has not been questioned, but this doesn’t mean that there were no risks or issues. Signatures could be forged, the enclosed documents might be altered, delays in delivery could occur. The whole paper-based process appears now as a complete waste of time and resources, neither it’s a safe method – that’s for sure. Adding to these inefficiencies, modern needs of speed in cross-border relationships and global availability press heavily for a change. Driving market trends are pushing businesses to progress and adapt to the new technological environment. Signing documents “offline” is nowadays a cumbersome and inefficient burden that no company should bear.

 

And it’s where the digital signature joins the game

As with all workflows, digitization has also affected the signing process, bringing unprecedented convenience and benefits for all businesses. Digital signatures are widely recognized as the most advanced and secure type of electronic signature. Being trusted and enforceable in nearly every industrialized nation worldwide, a digital signature is as legally binding and valid as an ordinary one placed with ink on paper. The perks don’t end with enabling remote transactions, saving time and money, reducing the use of paper and being eco-friendly. What’s likely the greatest benefit is the higher security level they provide: being undoubtedly one step ahead than their aged counterpart, digital signatures are labelled as virtually impossible to defraud, while paper documents are easily alterable, changes may be made to their content and contractual parties can deny having signed it.

 

Why choose Penneo’s digital signature

Our digital signatures can be used as proof of trustworthiness in terms of authenticity, data integrity and non-repudiation, that are the three core security services for the validity of an e-signature. But how do we achieve this level of security?

  1. Signer authentication: to be 100% sure about who is actually the author of the e-signature, Penneo uniquely identifies signers by using certificate-based Digital IDs issued by TSPs or Certificate Authorities (CAs); a unique PID (Personal Identifier) is also printed on the document so that the signer’s certificate is cryptographically bound to it.
  2. Content integrity: to prevent tampering, once the digital signature has been submitted the entire package is signed by Penneo that acts as a kind of notary and prints a unique “watermark” ID on the document; every step is captured in a secured audit trail that makes it extremely easy to verify if the document has been altered in transit.
  3. Non-repudiation: to document intent and consent, digital signatures can only be applied through Penneo’s signature platform, where the user must accept a declaration of consent before signing; this statement contains an overview of the documents and is stored as a part of the signature itself; additionally, each digital signature is time-stamped so that the trusted time of generation can be identified and used as non-repudiation evidence.

 

But the list cannot end here. Because it’s equally important the attention we pay to encryption and data protection to safeguard the privacy of your confidential information. Not to mention all the capabilities and features you can rely on to easily customize, integrate and automate your overall workflows.

 

Get back on track

Companies around the globe are thriving in this fast-growing marketplace. Invest in digital solutions to get the most out of this ongoing advancement. You’ll save money and boost your security while giving your business a competitive edge. What are you waiting for?

 

Find answers to all your questions about digital signatures in our Trust Center